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Reporter for anti-coup outlet killed amid continuing polarisation in Honduras

As controversy continues over the results of last month's presidential election, a provincial reporter has become the third journalist to be gunned down in Honduras since the start of the year.

Juan Carlos Argeñal, a local correspondent for national broadcaster Radio y TV Globo, was shot dead outside his home in the southeastern municipality of Danlí on 7 December 2013.

The two other journalists slain this year also worked for the Globo media group. They were programme director Anibal Barrow, kidnapped and killed on 24 June, and cameraman Manuel Murillo, who was killed on 24 October.

“Globo is one of the few national broadcasters to criticize the June 2009 coup d'état,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Its staff and reporters in the field have paid a high price for this for the past four years. It has included military occupation of their premises, confiscation of their equipment and targeted murders. The mere fact of working for Globo exposed Argeñal to danger.

“A total of 38 journalists have been killed in the past decade in Honduras, two thirds of them since the 2009 coup. Given the almost complete collapse of the rule of law, will this latest murder remain unpunished like nearly all the others? Does it signal the start of a new crackdown at a time when the country's future seems more uncertain than ever?”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We fear the worst, and we regret the international community's inadequate response to this disaster. The priority right now is that authorities investigate this new crime.”

TV Globo chief David Romero Ellner said Argeñal had received threats after exposing a case of corruption in a local hospital.

His murder could also be linked to his well-known support for Liberty and Refoundation, the party led by Xiomara Castro, a candidate in the 24 November presidential election and wife of Manuel Zelaya, the president ousted by the 2009 coup.
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